artichokes with olive oil, lemon & sea salt

Every time I buy artichokes (and I do on a regular basis) – I wonder how it ever came to be that it was discovered to be such a delicacy. From a distance they look regal and perfect, up close? A slightly different story, but one oh so worth telling. First, the leaves with their approach-with-caution aura, think serious mandibles at the tip of every single tightly wrapped leaf. And when you work your way past the gate keeper, you have to get your head around the idea of the choke and all the stories of well, choking– boggles the mind really.

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Well, I’m here to put all that folklore to rest. Yes, there is a deadly little prick at the tip of each leaf, and yes, there is a hairy little choke before you coddle the heart – but it’s all so doable and all so worth it. They are delicious, can be prepared in a myriad of ways and are oh so very, very good for you – what more could you want. Get yourself up to speed on how to handle an artichoke and we’ll see who’s handling who by sundown. And be sure to dig a little deeper below as I’ve loaded you up with everything you could possibly want to know about dealing with artichokes!

read it – get yourself some serious know-how

watch it – class is in session – videos await

artichokes with olive oil, lemon & sea salt

First & foremost, there’s no recipe – just follow the cooking method – trim and steam in 2″-3″ of water for 45 minutes – and scoop whatever you like with the succulent little leaves!

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1. Get the most gorgeous artichokes you can find – green, tight & firm – kinda like we are in our 20’s!

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2. It’s these hidden little tips you need to have respect for – they are capable of drawing blood!

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3. Using scissors, just cut off the angry little tips on each leaf – about 1/2″ down. Then turn the artichoke on it’s side and cut the top off about an 1″ down and trim the stem if it needs it. Don’t cut it completely off as this is just as tasty as the hidden heart!

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4. Always have lemons handy when you’re prepping artichokes – squeeze and rub the lemon all over any and all cut parts – artichokes oxidize when cut just like apples and avocados.

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5. Put them stem side up in a pot with a couple of inches of water and the cut lemon halves. I cook artichokes in my pressure cooker and this takes about 15-20 minutes. In a pot on the stove, this will take about twice that long.

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6. And this is what you will find after 45 minutes on the stove or 20 minutes in a pressure cooker.

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7. Take them out and set them right side up to cool.

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8. Simply pull the leaves off and that right there is what all the fuss is about!

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9. If you need a closer look – it’s the flesh sitting atop the leaf – that’s what you’re after – using your teeth, scrape the the artichoke flesh from each leaf – and do a couple of passes as you don’t want to waste a bit of it!

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10. And since a picture’s worth 1000 words – it is what it is!

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11. And for the sake of clarity – this is how it all breaks down – as you continue to remove the leaves, you get closer to the heart!

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12. And closer – such a pretty purple in there that only those who make the effort get to see!

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13. Until there are no more leaves – this last bit just pulls off – like a cap!

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14. And there it is – the dreaded choke!

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15. It is tiny little hairs compacted into a tight circle and as soon as you touch it – it bites back.

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16. Get a knife and simply press towards the centre and the hairs easily pull away from the heart.

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17. Keep working around in a circular fashion and the choke can be easily coaxed out. I never cut it out simply because I’m so in love with the heart that I can’t bear to see any waste.

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18. And there it is – that’s it! So now you see why they cost what they do when you see several piled in a jar!

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19. So I hope you have a whole new appreciation for Mother Nature and what she was able to put together when she was putting together the artichoke!

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20. A great way to serve them for a group is in a large bowl – just pile the leaves high, drizzle them with olive oil, lemon & sea salt and watch them disappear! As you can see the leaves are little spoons to catch anything you want to throw at them – feel free to make a dip of any kind to scoop with the leaves.

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21. Just keep peeling back the leaves as you need to – this way a couple of artichokes can feed more than 2.

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22. Or serve them whole and everyone gets one – again drizzle them with olive oil, lemon before finishing with a good sprinkle of salt. Nirvana! At this point I just dive in but feel free to make a dip of any kind to scoop with the leaves. Be sure to dig a little deeper above as I’ve loaded you up with everything you could possibly want to know about cooking with artichokes!

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23. So there you are, if you are unfamiliar with artichokes, or have dabbled ever-so-slightly, then I strongly encourage you to see what all the fuss is about!

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